I think most of us can agree that marriage is one of the most important steps people can take in their lives. It’s something I’ve thought about since I was a little girl. We develop ideas of how we want our wedding to be like, with details about everything from flowers and brides maid’s gowns, to location where the ceremony and who’s invited. They can be big affairs or small. But they always include family.
I’ve been living in Korea since February of 2009. I came here alone. Rick came to live here in Sept. of 2008. (for the second time, he taught here for a year in 2002). And, both of us left family back in the U.S. to come here. When we met for the first time in April of 2009, I know at least I thought it was borderline miraculous that we crossed paths. If you think about it, how could someone like me move all the way to the other side of the world to meet someone who I really liked hanging out with from New York?
We became close right away for a number of reasons, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that part of it was how regular life felt in Korea with him around. Of course I came to Korea with an eager youthfulness for new cultural experiences! This place offers so much for foreigners whether living here or just visiting. There’s just so much to see, explore, experience and share that it really never ends. And, I’ve met or known several girls who come here from other countries and dated Korean men. Even I was curious when I first got here, but it’s also true that I like American men as well. After all, it’s the country where I am from!
We lived together for several years before Rick proposed. And when he did, it was an instant yes.
Probably the main reason we decided to tie the knot here in Korea was because it was going to be WAAAAYY cheaper to do it here. He and I were both teachers at the time, not rich by any stretch of the imagination. Weddings in America can easily run thousands of dollars even for small ones. But in Korea, and not having any family here, things were going to be less expensive than that.
Here’s a breakdown of how much it costs for U.S. citizens to get married in Korea:
Since we are U.S. citizens, we first had to schedule and appointment and go to the U.S. embassy here in Seoul. While there, we had to have a document notarized, and that cost $50. That was the most expensive part!!! After that we needed to go to a local Korean government office. In Korea, to get the actual official marriage certificate documentation from the government office costs 200 Won (about 20 cents U.S.). That’s it! So we ordered a bunch of those and now we have them in a folder somewhere.
To make the most of being far away from family on our wedding day, we invited a few friends in Korea to join us and asked one of our close friends to marry us in a ceremony on the deck of his apartment building overlooking Seoul. It was an absolutely beautiful October day outside that day. We were extremely lucky.
We invited some more friends for dinner who had to work during the day (we got married on a Tuesday!) so more came out for dinner. Then after that we went back to a friend’s house for a small celebration after eating where even more friends joined up.
All in all it was a great day for me even if my family couldn’t join us. Sometimes we all have to make sacrifices in life, but I believe this was the right decision for me. And, I’m happy with the way it went. It was unique and special. What more could a girl ask for on her wedding day?